Change Isn’t the End; It’s the Beginning
My life was anything but perfect, but to a little girl, it was just how it should be! I had a loving mother and mostly loving dad. I had five siblings who loved to all hang out together. We had food on our table, we had a roof over our heads, and love was shown more days than not.
At about ten years old, something happened that made me realize that life can be evil. I was raped by someone I thought I could trust. My whole identity felt ripped from me. I started acting out in school and began chasing after guys. At the age of ten, I had a boyfriend; and by the age of 14, I’d made out with at least eight different boys.
I found my identity in boys. They made me feel wanted. Then another thing rocked my world. Our childhood home was sold. My perfect family was split. My dad became this angry guy who no longer acted on love. We moved so much and became a broken family. For three years, we moved and didn’t all live together. Eventually, we became a family again but I felt so unloved by my dad; he was no longer my hero.
We were a family again but we didn’t stay together long. Anger took over the house. My dad got in a huge fight with my older brother. We all got mad, and it ended up with the kids leaving and making my mom choose between us and our dad, whom we wanted nothing to do with. We all moved in together, and my mom commuted from my dad to us. My parents were separated for about five years; during this time, I went to four different high schools.
Sports became everything to me. My team and my coaches became my family. I wasn’t a good kid, however; I got in trouble at school a lot. I didn’t respect authority in any sense. When I was 17, we moved to Florida because my little brother was taken away and my mother couldn’t get custody. Life again changed. I followed my mom, and three of us moved down south to live with my aunt. I had no idea that God was about to enter and change my heart.
Up until this point, at 17, I didn’t have any real relationships and I was still in the stage of hating my parents. When we moved in with my aunt and uncle, of course they enforced rules. I had to go to church and go to school. I grew up going to church, so it wasn’t anything new. I went to youth group and fell in love with the church community. During this time there were about five adults that really spoke truth into my life and showed me I mattered.
My youth leader showed me I mattered, which I questioned. He told me he loved me and that I mattered not only to him, but to Jesus. I wanted to feel accepted, so I started hanging out with the church community. After I graduated from high school, I couldn’t find a job so I decided to get super involved in church. I was still chasing boys, and I was also starting to drink. I snuck out of the house a lot and still didn’t trust many people.
At 18 I moved with my sister. I started going to church and made really good friends. I was still questioning why I was here and if anyone could ever love me! I started drinking and dating every guy I could while still being the good, changed Christian I thought I was. I ended up really screwing up; I began dating a guy with a girlfriend. As a little girl, I had promised myself I would wait for marriage to sleep with a man. I ended up feeling super lost and was about to throw it all away for a guy with a girlfriend.
I decided I was too far gone for God to love me. Then my friend spoke truth into my life. I really listened and realized that the only real love I can ever get is from God. So that day, I threw away all the lies I’d been told about not being loved and never feeling accepted.
I am loved by God and always will be. I chose love over hate, I chose kindness over anger, I chose good over evil, and I chose wanted over unwanted. I chose joy over sadness.
It’s never too late. I know that many people may not identify with this story because it ends with God, but if you read between the lines, it starts with joy. The middle is sadness, but the end is also joy. When it came to life’s many changes, I chose new beginnings rather than endings.
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